The Fast Fashion Epidemic

TikTok is negatively contributing to the consumption of fast fashion

Massive hauls of fast fashion brands on TikTok are causing major harm to the environment

Fast Fashion Representation
Avatar Kenya Barcus

TikTok has become a central hub for trends, fashion, makeup, music and more. Hundreds of millions of users are active on the app every single day around the world. Videos range from 10-15 seconds on average, allowing videos to be consumed at a faster rate than ever seen before. Trends come and go within the matter of weeks, and then the newest trend takes its place. According to a Marketing Charts survey of Gen Zers, 39% were directly influenced to buy a product after seeing it on TikTok. A common trend that has become very popular for TikTok users is massive hauls, where influencers show their viewers the hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothes, they purchased from various fast fashion brands.

@melanin.merit #CapCut #sheinhaul #fypシ #fyp #unbox ♬ original sound – Melanin.merit

What is fast fashion?

 Fast fashion is inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass market retailers in response to the latest trends. The most popular brand notorious for fast fashion would be Shein, which is a multi-billion-dollar company based out of China. Selling cheaply made clothes at a minimal cost appeals towards a younger demographic, who takes advantage of these low prices and purchase an unnecessary amount of clothes at one time.

Not only are these clothes terrible quality, but they are putting a negative ecological footprint on our planet. From creating the cloths, transporting them, and then the clothing eventually being discarded, these brands are overall extremely harmful to the environment. The fashion industry accounts for between 5% and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These garments eventually get discarded, and the US alone throws away up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste each year, around 2,150 pieces of clothing’s each second.

Now here’s now TikTok is making this worse

 Big influencers with large followings are supporting, doing sponsorships with, and collaborating with these companies to promote their products. Furthermore, this is only spreading the demographic of those who are pouring money into fast fashion. Even smaller creators that participate in large hauls to show their viewers or friends are part of an issue. All it takes is a viewer who is interested in one of the pieces shown, and then that company has another consumer who is intrigued by the low prices and large selection of clothing trends.

Ways to achieve a more sustainable closet

Though it may seem that the results of the fashion industry are inevitable, there are ways to obtain sustainable fashion. There are many influencers who are using their platforms for good and spreading awareness for this issue. For example, thrifting and upcycling is a great way to be more sustainable. Not only is it more affordable, but it reduces the production of new clothing products and reduces the number of clothes that end up in landfills. If buying new clothes is more preferred, checking the sustainability of a company is also creating a more positive impact. Influencer Taylor Bright shares in a TikTok what people should look for before purchasing clothes from a brand. She also brings to light the companies that are not sustainable, or exploit their workers for quick, cheap clothing.


@sustainablecherub Shop Smarter & Save The 🌎 at the same time #SourPatchPrankFund #sustainable #fyp #fashion ♬ original sound – Taylor Bright

Practicing sustainable habits can make the world of a difference on our environment. Being intentional on consuming media that encourages these behaviors will make these habits easier to accomplish. More sustainable shopping will lead to a better and greener future.

Kenya Barcus

My name is Kenya Barcus and I am an Erasmus student studying abroad at Universitat de Abat Oliba CEU. At my home university, Western Kentucky University, I am a double major in Broadcasting and Spanish, and am continuing my Communications classes while abroad.